It’s no secret that Google regularly announces and implements changes to their platforms. Since 2019, Google has rolled out changes to their system of ranking websites each year, and 2021 is no different. Whether you’re a business owner, a marketing manager, or just someone who likes to stay informed, it can be hard to keep up with what each new change means, and how it affects individual sites. On May 16th, Google will be announcing the full scope of the newest search engine algorithm updates that are slated to go into effect this summer, but their recent announcements dating back to last year give us some idea of what to look for in the coming months.
Primarily, Google is updating their algorithm to include a factor called Page Experience. Page Experience accounts for aspects that previously have been used to rank a website or webpage like mobile-friendliness and secure connections, but also more heavily accounts for things like interactivity, page speed, and page stability. Basically, Google wants to prioritize a web user’s experience with a website in their ranking process.
Part of the new Page Experience ranking system is a platform called Web Vitals. As explained on their site, Web Vitals is “an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.” Web Vitals are broken down into Core Web Vitals, which are the most important benchmarks for site success, and Other Web Vitals, which are secondary “supplemental” factors in the consideration of user experience. Currently, the three most important Core Web Vitals are loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
So what can site owners, webmasters, and developers do to ensure their sites exceed these standards for Page Experience? Google has put together a collection of tools to measure crucial Web Vitals, like Google Search Console’s new Core Web Vitals Report, or Google’s Page Speed Insights, which breaks down a site’s loading time and what changes can be made to improve it. You can also test a site’s mobile-friendliness through Google Search Console. Many developers already optimize for some of these factors, but to ensure you don’t lose any skin in the game when these changes take effect this summer, it’s crucial that you audit your website for any potential errors, particularly in the areas of page speed, interactivity, and visual stability.
You might be wondering where actual site content will factor into this new ranking process. From the words of Google, content is still king: “Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content.” So moving forward, not only will you want stellar, well-optimized content on your site, but you want your users to enjoy the medium that content is delivered through as well.
Want to learn more about how to meet Google’s changes head-on? Have questions about how your business can stay ahead of the curve, or improve its rankings? i4 Solutions can help. With 20 years experience in the digital marketing industry, we have successfully fielded all of Google’s changes with our proactive brand of project management, ensuring client success for years to come.